Belgian Nationals

After the first international race in Carnac, now the first national race to measure ourselves against the other Belgian teams.

In total there were 2 titles to win this weekend. The title of Belgian Champion buoy racing and the title Belgian Champion long distance.
Buoy racing was held on Thursday and Saturday, on Friday a long distance race was foreseen.

Show sailing for the sponsor :-) (Christophe Colpaert, Falcon, RBSC/McDonalds).

After the KYC race last weekend we knew what to expect and made sure we were well rested to start the weekend. The meteo for the weekend predicted light and shifty winds, so we prepped for some long and nervous racing.

Day 1 - buoy racing
On the first day 3 races were sailed in, as predicted, light and shifty winds. A lot of current on top of that made tactics extremely important but difficult at the same time.

BEL 111 upwind
We were immediately in the groove and got a good start with about 5 teams in the first race. Throughout the race we managed to get the correct shifts and the 5 got away from the pack. 4 F16 of which 3 Falcons and an F18. In the 3rd round Falcon BEL 222 and the F18 with Anouk & Gilles managed to get away and they finished 1st and 2nd. We were chasing them closely behind but hit a bouy. After the penalty we were still comfortable in 3rd position, but too far away to fight for 1st or 2nd place. Falcon BEL 111 was fighting for 4th or 5th and had to settle with 5th in this race, but well in front of the other F18 and the F20.

Front of the fleet - 3 Falcons, 2 Wildcat
In the second race our start wasn't good and we quickly got caught in the middle of the pack. The 2 Falcon Youth teams got a good start and where battling with the F20 throughout the race. The wind had picked up again and BEL 111 knew where to find it first, finishing well in front of the other teams, BEL 222 was OCS so their great performance didn't pay off this time ...

By the third race most of the teams had found the correct trim and racing was getting closer too each other, with positions changing all the time. On the downwind we lost some ground again, while gaining a lot on the upwind each time. As the wind was still light it was difficult to make the choice to go for pressure or just go straight down to the gate. I guess we didn't make the right calls on the downwind :-)

BEL 222 gybing for the gate
By the end of the day, after 3 races, we managed to be in 3rd position dues to 2 OCS of other teams. BEL 111 in first position. The performance of our youth teams has improved a lot thanks to the intensive training in the RBSC/McDonalds youth team.

Day 2 - long distance
Less competitors during the long distance race or changed configurations. Friday was not an off day for everyone, meaning in our case only 2 Falcons at the start. The race started light again in about 5 to 7 knots, but surprisingly the wind picked up to about 15 knots gusting to more after about an hour into the race.

Long distance start
Our start wasn't good and we were 8th at the upwind mark. After that a downwind run. We managed to catch the first shifts of the building wind and got into 6th at the second mark, less than a minute behind 3 F18, the F20 and the second Falcon.
A long 2 sail reach led us through a gate and 2 buoys. First boats we catched up with were an F18 and a Falcon. Philip sailed with his dad on this occassion and was steering and sheeting. Not used to this we over took him on the reach.

About 1,5 hours into the race we tacked sailing upwind to the coast again. The last races our upwind speed has been awesome and here again we got the trim just right. Building speed in every gust we managed to overtake an F18 leaving just an F18 and F20 in front of us.

Back at the coast we had to return to the starting area on a spin reach to start our second run. Double trapping in these windy and gusty conditions made us feel our boat is 2 feet shorter than the 18. We lowered the risk and single trapped only. The brothers Proot over took us again so we were in 4th by the time we finished the first round.

After about 2 hours into the race we started for the second time the long reach which had become almost an upwind leg. The wind had now clearly built to about 15 knots gusting to 20 and we were able to depower the best giving us the best performance in speed. We overtook the brothers Proot again and went chasing the other 2 boats in front of us.

In the last upwind leg we almost caught up with the F18 and F20 and were about 1 minute behind.
For the final spinnaker reach the wind was even too much for the F18 to twin trap meaning we didn't loose ground anymore here.

Finished third and a rating helping us getting 1st place meant we became Belgian Champions long distance, with Spilleboudt (Wildcat F18) in second, Philip and his dad in third and Proot in 4th.

Day 3 - buoy racing part 2
Final day of the Belgian Nationals.

With low winds again, down to 5 knots, the race officer made the call to go out and race. Happy to be able to drop our worst score but at the same time worrying if we would be able to get some quality racing in.

Eventually 2 races were finished in conditions that were sailable. The finishing order of the 2 final races confirmed the performance of the teams of the first day so the actual scoring didn't change too much. 1st Philip&Gaetan (Falcon), 2nd Proot (Wildcat), 3rd Arnout&Klaas (Falcon), 4th us and we were first mixed team!

Finally big respect to all the youths, coaches and parents that joined the event in all classes! And ofcourse a big thanks to SYCOD for the great races! All winners below.

Belgian Champions C4 buoy racing
Belgian Champions C3 buoy racing
Belgian Champions C1 buoy racing

Belgian Champions C4 long distance

Belgian Champions C3 long distance
Belgian Champions C1 long distance
Photo credits: RBSC/McDonalds

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